Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Future of American Politics

We all have heard about how the Republicans are so opposed to deficit spending. Where were all the hard-core Republicans in Congress when Bush turned a surplus into a $400 billion deficit?

We all have heard about how Democrats are doves, where were the Democrats when the Iraq War got almost unanimous approval in 2002?

We all like to hope that Democrats will defend our freedom of speech, where were they when the Patriot Act was passed?

We all like to think how the Republicans put the deficit first as our most pressing national priority... but why do they seem to think that cutting only the $414 billion that the Department of Health and Human Services spends on everything except Medicare (which they want to keep) will balance a $900 billion budget?

We all like to think that the Republicans want a small federal government, but why then did almost all of them support the No Child Left Behind Act, bank bailouts, and PATRIOT ACT which expanded the role of the Federal government?

We like to think the Republicans are the party that supports America's future, but why do they keep cutting funds for schools?

We like to think that Democrats are in favor of expanding access to inexpensive high-quality college, but why have there been a total of 0 major college-education bills over the past 4 years providing more assistance been in the spotlight?

We like to think that Democrats are in favor of helping the poor, then why did Clinton pass the reform for TANF with the Republican-led congress which made it mostly a state-run program with 56 bureaucracies instead of 1?

We hope Democrats will stand up for what has to happen, but why did they not go to the Supreme Court when the Republican-led governments of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida gerrymandered their congresssional districts in ways that are very clearly designed to give Republicans an edge in both the maps and the votes?

This is because neither party truly represents America. If the Democrats represented America they would be a very different party. They would be pushing very hard to bring back the Work Progress Administration, and would have started pushing for an increase in the minimum wage a decade ago. The Democrats would have signed the Kyoto Agreement in 2009 when they had a chance. They would push for serious election reform to make it so that every vote counts, and gerrymandering will have almost no power. I am glad Obama is trying to push his party left on voting reform, climate change, and serious economic policy, and I hope he succeeds. I hope he pushes for making the border with Canada easier to cross, not harder. I hope he will seriously balance the budget by taxing capital gains as regular income, because that is all it will take. I hope he roots out waste in every agency, including the Department of Defense, and shortens the deadline for that agency to audit themselves. It shouldn't take years for an audit to be finished.

Why does this happen? Within both parties are large caucuses. We saw the Republican factions very clearly during last year's primary:

  • Santorum with his Christian Democracy platform and soft opposition to the secular state. (I’ll call them Christian Republicans)
  • Ron Paul with his libertarian small government ideology in everything except abortion (Libertarian Republicans)
  • Mitt Romney with his beliefs between the two, believing in more social policy controls yet not to the point of Santorum. (I’ll call him Republican National Convention)

This is a really uneasy alliance between the three wings. I expect it will someday split.

The Democratic Party also has some uneasy disagreements which to those of us who were involved in Occupy are starting to become apparent on the ground. While I am not and do not wish to be a registered Democrat when it comes to my beliefs I fit into one of these camps. I expect we will start to see it during future Presidential election years like we saw it during last year's Republican primaries.
  • Although unorganized, a large number of Democrats fit under the ideology of the Progressive Party (aka Bull Moose) of Theodore Roosevelt. These people are pro-globalization (which alienates them from the Libertarians and Greens), favor nothing less than Universal Health Care (which the Democratic Leadership Council and Libertarian Democrats fail to support and many oppose), and are pro-free trade with nations that have similar economic and political statuses yet oppose free trade for non-business practices (alienating them from everyone else) and are unlikely to support free trade to support American businesses alone, they are also likely to support free travel. They support regulation of the worst aspects of the financial industry. Some will favor a strong military to be used only when necessary. Elizabeth Warren is the epitome of the Progressives.
  • You see the more traditional Democrats who want less government involvement in social lives and more governmental regulation in banking and the stock market along with pro-globalization leanings (Democrat Leadership Council). These people do not favor Universal Health Care but favor more centrist approaches. These people favor compromise to hard policy. Obama is the epitome of this party.
  • You see people more in Ron Paul’s libertarian camp who avoid the current Republican Party like the plague due to their social policies (Libertarian Democrats).
  • You see more isolationist Democrats, the anti-WTO protesters of the 90s who continue to take an anti-military, pro-visa, pro-tariff, and are shifty on immigration in terms of foreign policy along with some more mainstream Democratic policies (Progressive Democrats, merge with Green Party). Whether they will gain seats remains to be seen, but they are a powerful force of solid left wing Democrats and should not be underestimated.
  • Some Democrats will join the left-wingers of the Republican Party (Blue Dogs). These people oppose universal health care and when it comes to free trade do not focus on fair trade as a prerequisite.

It would be quite possible to divide the Democratic party on these five lines. It is becoming a very uneasy alliance when you get into it. With so many different ideologies it makes for politics constrained in political beliefs by regional tendencies giving people in different parts of the country fewer choices once the general election comes because the Democratic candidate will be able to outspend the Greens and Socialist Workers. If the Democratic Party split into 4 or 5 factions than we will see more debate.

The Tea Party will be split between the Libertarians and Christian Republicans.
So, I predict that in the next 30 years we will see a reorganization of the American political spectrum as the parties change and we get a more diverse mix of parties. From left to right on the economic scale.
  1. Progressive Democrats/Greens (PD)
  2. Progressive Party/Bull Mooses (PP)
  3. Democratic Leadership Council (DP)
  4. Republican National Convention (GOP)
  5. Christian Republicans (CR)
  6. Libertarian Democrats/Libertarians (LP)

Here is the list of parties by social scale from smallest to largest involvement in personal affairs:
  1. Progressive Party/Bull Mooses (PP)
  2. Progressive Democrats/Greens (PD)
  3. Democratic Leadership Council (DP)
  4. Libertarian Party (LP)
  5. Republican National Convention (GOP)
  6. Christian Republicans (CR)

Here is a table for comparison. Vertical is economic, horizontal is social. Top-left is left-wing. Small vs. Big is the comparative size of involvement of the government.
Small SocialMedium smallMedium bigBig Social
Small Econ(Anarchy)LP
Medium smallPDDP (status quo)GOP (status quo)CR
Medium bigPP (W. Europe)(NAZI)
Big Econ(Soviet Union)

There is one more dimension that must be accounted for which is foreign policy: Here is a list of parties, isolationist on top, involvement on bottom:
  1. Libertarian Party (LP)
  2. Progressive Democrats/Greens (PD)
  3. Progressive Party/Bull Mooses/Congressional Progressive Caucus (PP)
  4. Democratic Leadership council (DP)
  5. Republican National Convention (GOP)
  6. Christian Republicans (CR)

I am expecting that the modern Bull Mooses will be more inclined to cooperate with other countries as opposed to the interventionism of Theodore Roosevelt which with the modern politics of America would not fit with their other policies. The Christian Republicans’ policy towards the Middle East puts them on the bottom.

This will be a much healthier system for American politics and we will need a new election system, which I have already talked about. Without using ranked voting we will find that there will be major spoilers which as we saw in 2000 dissuade people from breaking party line in the future. Changing will make every vote count and make it possible for strong political minorities to form their own parties. People will be able to vote their conscious and issues that currently get swept under the rug, like drone bombings (which I will hopefully blog about soon) or our relations with Israel, or issues that aren't even brought up, like our Relations with Canada or Progressive Capital Gains that could receive wide support if discussed, which neither party wants to talk about. This will be good for America.

Another thing that we have seen throughout history is that what happens in America doesn't stay in America. The very idea of democracy which developed here is now used in almost every country. By changing our election system it will be front page news around the world which will make countries like Canada and Britain more seriously consider changing their election systems. It will be a great step for mankind across the world.

I know the factions will continue to disagree in the major parties, and I hope that we can adopt an election system soon before people feel the same way we felt about how Ralph Nader spoiled the election and then go back to voting party-line. The differences in the parties are growing and I think we will.

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